Sept 23, 2014

Special Meeting of the Faculty Senate

EB 162

Meeting called to order: 2:03

President Lugo presiding

Quorum confirmed

 

 

Announcements: 

1.       The Chancellor Search Committee has been formed.   President Ross will come to charge the committee in early Oct.  The first item on the agenda at that initial meeting will be to discuss which search firm will be appointed.  The BOT approved the request to increase the number of faculty representatives on the Search Committee from 4 to 5.  However, the number of representatives from the community was also increased, such that relative faculty representation is not increased.  There are 21 individuals on the Search Committee, with more members from outside the University than faculty.  President Lugo has been informed that there are politics at work here, and that the committee composition cannot be changed.  The faculty representatives from the Search Committee will be invited to the next regular Senate meeting, to hear faculty thoughts on the search, for the good of the order.

2.       President Lugo demonstrated the Senate Sharepoint site, and emphasized its archival importance.  Senate members should remember to fill in their complete extenstion (log-in name plus uncw.edu) when logging into the site.  Included on the site are all documents relevant to Chancellor searches from our sister universities.

 

 

Special order of the day:  to review AA revisions to the Policies of Academic Freedom and Tenure.

 

I.                    Discussion began with President Lugo providing a brief background on the basis for the day�s special order.  The Policies of Academic Freedom and Tenure (hereafter, the Policies) were exhaustively reviewed and revised by the Faculty Senate (first by committee, and then by the Senate as a whole) over the last two-three years, with a final Policies document approved by the Senate in the spring (2014).   The Policies were then submitted to AA, reviewed in turn, and returned by AA to the Senate this summer with requests for revisions.  Special Senate meetings have thus been arranged, solely to provide for consideration of the revisions. 

II.                  Rules of Order:  We will be considering and voting on individual motions regarding each substantive revision in these special meetings.  We will vote on the entire Policies document at a regular Senate meeting, and changes to the Policies document will require approval by 2/3 of the Senate membership (not just of those in attendance at the meeting).  Without a 2/3 vote, the originally submitted document will stand as the Senate statement.  A 2/3 vote is required by the Senate by-laws for any governance document.  Minor revisions involving wordsmithing will be handled separately, so that Senate discussion can focus on the main issues.  A version of the Policies document reflecting the revisions from AA was circulated to all Senators prior to the meeting, and served as the focus for the meeting deliberations.    

 

 

 

 

III.                (From page 4, Article IV, b, i, 1) MO1 � Change required years of probationary service from 2 to 5 years.

A.       Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points made by AA representatives:

a.       Original language seemed to encourage faculty to go up for T&P in 2 years, and set up an expectation that was inconsistent with practice, thus the language was confusing.  The language should reflect our practice.

b.      Recommendation is based on personal experience (rather than review of practices by other universities)

c.       Original language may set up basis for appeal.  The revision could streamline review process and prevent the system from being bogged down by people going up early.  Faculty aren�t generally aware of the basis for special exceptions.

d.      As an institution that emphasizes teaching, two years is too little to judge sustained quality in teaching.

2.       Main points made by Senators:

a.       If exceptions are permissible, the last revision sentence confuses things further.

b.      The historical context is that the �2 years� language was part of a bigger packaged that included a required departmental mentor for each faculty member, and a requirement that the dept. chair keep senior members informed of an individual�s progress toward satisfying RPT criteria.  The emphasis was not on time in rank, but rather on meeting all dept guidelines.  The mentor, together with the chair�s recommendations on progress, should ensure an individual�s understanding that most faculty would not be ready for RPT after 2 years.

c.       Do we have any evidence or data that the system is being clogged by individuals going up who are not ready?  What percentage of candidates are really not qualified when they go up early?  How many people actually apply at 2 years, and how many are awarded tenure or promotion?  It�s not clear that we have a problem here, especially at the Provost level (which comes after many other levels of review).  We need the data to back up stated assumptions.

d.      The revisions seem to add more confusions by adding an �exceptionally outstanding� category with no definition.

e.      An important rationale for having the option of review at 2 years has been to help us keep outstanding faculty around.  This is an important retention tool, to help us keep exceptional faculty.  There are numerous examples of this provision being successful.

f.        Is time of service relevant to T&P, or is the standard based on your work?  We�ve hired people who give up tenure to move into our dept, and who want to go up early.  Why should they be held back?  Shouldn�t the judgement be based on their work?  We need to reward excellent performance.

g.       In addition to retention tool, 2 years can also be an important recruitment tool, especially in these times of scare resources.  This helps encourage faculty to come.  Retention is also a problem, as the data show.  As NC becomes a less attractive place for faculty, recruitment and retention aids are increasinigly important.

h.      Two years has traditionally enabled the department to assess a record of teaching, and learn about an individual�s stability.

i.         The critical role of the department in making RPT decisions should be emphasized here. 

j.        These faculty policies should allow maximum flexibility for faculty to take action.

B.      The vote is called.  A �No� vote will reject the revisions shown in red on the document.  The vote is 26 in favor, 28 against, so the motion to revise the first paragraph of Article IV, b, i, 1 fails and the original language remains.   It is further clarified that there are no objections to the revisions proposed in the second paragraph of this section, so those changes will remain.

 

IV.                (From page 4, Article IV, b, i, 2)  MO 2 - Consideration of the language regarding a maximum 9 years of probationary service.  There was no motion to change this language, but a concern was expressed, so a short discussion is in order.

A.      Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points made by AA representatives:  No comments

2.       Main points made by Senators:

a.       The 9 years is intended to accommodate FMLA.

b.      This provision was carefully considered in conjunction with HR, University Counsel, and AA at the time, to arrange for postponement of RPT in keeping with the possibility that FMLA could potentially happen twice within a faculty member�s period of evaluation.

c.       While FMLA leave periods are 12 weeks each, and the RPT provision allows for a year of postponement for each 12-week FMLA leave; thus, the language on �leave� time alone does not cover the entire postponement period.

B.      This provides context for the issue.  MO 2 is really a legal matter, and Counsel will need to weigh in, so no vote will be taken.

 

V.                  (From page 5, Article IV, b, ii, 6, footnote 3 and comment)  MO3 � The composition of senior members can be determined by each academic dept, only if the CRPT is limited to full professors only.  Question - do we wish to leave the decision about senior membership to each department? 

A.      Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points made by AA representatives:

a.       To clarify questions from the floor, the issue of defining senior members of a department is intended to hold for all candidates� RPT consideration (not just for Chairs).

b.      Also by way of clarification, the intention is that departments can continue to define senior membership as usual as long as the CRPT includes only full professors.

2.       Main points made by Senators:

a.       Decisions about the composition of departmental senior faculty should be made by the department, regardless of decisions about CRPT.

b.      Discussion of this motion is tied to the next one regarding composition of the CRPT.  Should we take that motion first?

c.       Clarifications are made about portions of the footnote that were part of the original document and so should be shown in black rather than in red.

d.      Questions were raised about whether the composition issue pertained to RPT decisions about Chairs only, or to all candidates.

e.      In the case of considering a Chair for RPT according to these revisions, we would need to provide a timeline to allow for the Dean to inform the senior faculty, so that they might in turn prepare a letter of dissent (if applicable).

B.      A motion to change the order of motions (to allow consideration of the motion on CRPT membership) was made, seconded, and approved by a voice vote.

 

VI.                (From page 7, Article IV, C, ii)  MO 5 -  The University-wide RPT should be composed of full professors only.

A.      Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points made by AA representatives:

a.       Currently there are inconsistencies in our practices.  Some depts. include only full professors as senior members, but candidates would be considered by associates and fulls at the next level.  We felt there should be consistency in review.

b.      The issue here is not about what departments choose in defining their own senior members.  But why should associates decide at the next level if they are not included at the departmental level?

c.       There was no intention to imply that associates are not as qualified as fulls.  Rather, full professors have earned their way through all ranks and can share the perspective of their years of service.

2.       Main points made by Senators:

a.       There has never been a problem stemming from inclusion of associate profs on the CRPT. 

b.      The implication of the revision seems to be that our associates would make poorer decisions than full profs, which is insulting to our faculty.

c.       The standards for promotion are recognizable by people who have not yet met that level.  Our associate profs have an stake in the decision-making and should be allowed to participate.

d.      Including associate profs helps to mitigate against  �old boy� networks.

e.      Departments with few full professors may be underrepresented if associates cannot serve.

f.        Members of the CRPT are elected by the full faculty, which is important.  If the faculty deem an individual eligible, s/he should be able to serve.  The election process works here, and we get excellent people to serve on this committee.

g.       The inconsistencies would be present either way.  With the revision, a department that did allow associates to participate would not have consistent representation at the next level.

h.      The argument that full profs should be able to share their perspective is not based on what our full profs actually want.  A number have spoken here, and want the CRPT Committee to remain as it is.

B.      The vote is called.  A vote YES means that the composition of the CRPT Committee stays as it is, while a vote NO means that the AA revisions are accepted.  The vote is 47 yes and 6 no, so the AA changes are rejected.

 

VII.              Returing to MO3 � these issues were conditional on MO5, which was rejected, so no action is needed regarding statements on committee composition.

A.      Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points by AA representatives:  No comments.

2.       Main points by Senators:

a.       The main issue is moot, given the previous vote.

b.      The last sentence allows a dissenting letter from senior faculty for consideration of chairs/directors.  This should remain.

c.       In Footnote 3, the phrase �subject to the dean�s approval,� indicates that the decision is not really �local.�

B.      MO 3.1 � to accept the final sentence in #6 (page 5).  A vote of YES indicates that the revision is accepted, while a vote of NO would indicate that the revision be rejected.  The vote is 43 yes, 4 no, so the revision is accepted.

C.      MO 3.2 � to accept the revision to Footnote 3, which specifies �subject to dean�s approval.�  A vote YES indicates that the revision would be accepted, while a vote NO indicates that the revision would be rejected.  The vote is 15 yes, 34 no, so the revision is rejected.

 

VIII.             (From page 5, Article IV, B, ii, 7) MO 4 � to remove, �A faculty member may be promoted at any time.�

A.       Summary of discussion:

1.       Main points by AA representatives:  No comments

2.       Main points by Senators:

a.       Removing this statement would make us consistent with our previous vote on 2 years.

b.      Considered in the context of the rest of the document, this provides flexibility and doesn�t cause a problem.

B.      The vote is called.  A vote YES indicates that the sentence in #7 will be deleted, while a vote NO indicates that it will remain. The vote is 44 yes, 3 no, so the sentence will be deleted.

 

IX.                (From page 7, Article IV, C, ii)  MO 6 � to accept the revisions to the conflict of interest clause.  A vote YES would indicate that the change be accepted, while a vote NO would indicate that the clarification be rejected.  The vote was 47 yes, 0 no, so the revision to the clause is accepted.

 

X.                  (From page 7, Article IV, C, iv)  MO 7 � to accept the text inserted in section iv, involving responsibilities of the CRPT Committee to include review of �the integrity of the RPT process.�

A.   Summary of discussion: 

     1.  Main points by AA representatives:

            a.  The intention was to help ensure due process.  It would be useful if the

         committee reported anything observed that was not consistent with due

         process � to identify any violations of process.

     2.  Main points by Senators:

    a.   What does it mean to review the integrity of the RPT process?  Don�t we have a

           Hearings Committee to handle this?  If RPT finds a problem, to whom do they

           address the problem?  It�s not clear with this means.

             b.  The wording implies a different expectation � to review the process in every

                 committee decision, which would be a mistake.

            c.  This responsibility seems to be part of the dean�s job, and shouldn�t be an

                additional burden for the committee.

        d.  The addition sounds more like a committee charge, and would belong more

             appropriately in the Faculty Handbook.

B.  The vote was called.  A vote YES would indicate that the revision be accepted, while a

     vote NO would indicate that the revision be rejected.  The vote was 3 yes, and 45 no, so

     the revised language was rejected.

 

XI.                 (From page 7, Article IV, C, iv)  MO 7.1 � to accept �seek additional information� as a CRPT option.

A.   Summary of discussion:

        1.  Main points by AA representatives:  No comments

        2.  Main points by Senators:

              a.  When any group along the review chain is privy to information that previous

                   groups didn�t have, it changes the process.  If there is additional information, the

                   process should start over because the document has changed.  Clarification refers

                   to information already in the document, not to new information.

              b.  Clarification necessarily involves new information.  Refusing to allow new

                   information seems contrary to academic decision-making.  It seems wrong to say

                   to committee members who want to know more, �Sorry � information exists, but

                   you can�t have it.�

              c.  Are there data on instances in which RPT requests additional information?  It has

           happened, but is rare.

B.  The vote was called.  A vote YES would indicate that the revision to allow requests for

      additional information be allowed, while a vote NO would indicate a rejection of the

      revision.  The vote was 24 yes, 20 no, so the revision is accepted.

 

 

A motion to adjourn passed at 4:00.